Denali National Park is a United States National Park that is home to Mt. McKinley, North America's highest mountain, known to the native Athabascan Indians as Denali. In addition, the park protects an incredible wilderness area that contains grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves, and numerous other creatures. It is in the state of Alaska, 240 miles north of Anchorage and 120 miles south of Fairbanks.
Denali is home to a variety of Alaskan birds and mammals, including a healthy population of grizzly bears and black bears. Herds of caribou roam throughout the park. Dall sheep are often seen on mountainsides, and moose feed on the aquatic plants of the small lakes and swamps. Despite human impact on the area, Denali accommodates gray wolf dens, both historic and active. Smaller animals, such as hoary marmots, arctic ground squirrels, beavers, pikas, and snowshoe hares are seen in abundance. Foxes, martens, lynx, wolverines also inhabit the park, but are more rarely seen due to their elusive natures.
Weather in Denali is extremely variable, and changes occur without warning. Many rangers tell visitors to expect sun, wind, rain, and clouds, and expect them all on the same day. Average summer temperatures range from 33 to 75°F. It has been known to snow in July, so prepare by wearing layers of clothing that can be removed or added as needed, and carry a waterproof raincoat or jacket.
Denali National Park is accessible by car from the George Parks Highway (Alaska Route 3), which runs between Fairbanks and Anchorage. The highway is open all year, although the main road through the park may close at any time due to weather conditions. The "Alaska Mile Post" is an excellent guide to driving the highways in Alaska.
The park is enormous, and the vast majority of it is accessible only on foot or (in winter) by dog sled. The first fifteen miles of the park road are open to vehicle travel, and park buses are available to take visitors farther. At a minimum, visitors should try to catch a bus to at least Eilson Visitor Center for the incredible views of the mountain (when it's out). Slightly more adventurous visitors should plan to spend a few nights camping at the Wonder Lake campground. For the serious outdoorsmen, several days backpacking in the backcountry is far and away the best way to enjoy the Denali experience.